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Civil-rights pioneer Height dies

This article shared 3887 times since Sat May 1, 2010
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Civil-rights pioneer Dorothy Height, who was particularly active during the 1960s, died April 20, according to . She was 98.

Height was the chair and president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women, and worked during the '60s with other civil-rights leaders, including the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

President Barack Obama called Height a hero and the "godmother" of the movement, stating that she "served as the only woman at the highest level of the civil rights movement—witnessing every march and milestone along the way."

Height was born in Richmond, Va., and grew up in Pennsylvania. Her work in civil rights began in the 1930s, when she crusaded to stop lynchings and segregation. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 and the Congressional Gold Medal 10 years later.

Gay-rights advocates praised Height and mourned her passing. Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said, "we deeply mourn the loss of Dorothy Height, who staunchly stood for the civil rights of all people. Dr. Height was a hero to many by devoting her life to those struggling for equality. We are in awe of her crusade for racial justice and gender equality that spanned more than six decades. ... To have met her was an honor. To speak with her, a joy. And, to have been inspired by her, a gift."

Black AIDS Institute President/CEO Phill Wilson issued a statement saying, in part, "Dr. Height's lifelong commitment to not only civil rights, but also to human rights as they relate to women, the poor, people with HIV/AIDS and other vulnerable populations goes unsurpassed. She was a tremendous humanitarian who, even in the early days, was quick to understand why Black Americans must embrace the fight against HIV/AIDS. We will sorely miss her dignity and leadership." ( See the op-ed by the Rev. Irene Monroe at )

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